Talents describe what you intuitively know, what you can do without coaching or instruction. The only way to improve your Talents is through direct experience - with the exception of a very few cases (such as studying a text on Jeet Kune Do to learn a dot or so of Brawl), these things can't be learned from a book or mail-order course. If you try an action involving a Talent your character doesn't possess, there's no penalty to your basic Attribute dice pool; these Abilities are so intuitive that virtually everyone has some degree of capacity in each one.
Any talent that a normal human, or a freeform creature might want, must be approved by a storyteller, if it is specifically denoted as belonging to a supernatural entity by color, and description.
This is your basic knack for noticing things that go on around you, even when you're not actively looking for them. Alertness describes the attention you pay to the outside world, whether otherwise occupied or not. This Talent is typically paired with Perception, and is best used when sensing physical stimuli (as opposed to moods or clues).
*Novice: You're no mindless drone.
**Practiced: Habitual eavesdropper
***Competent: You keep a sharp eye on your surroundings.
****Expert: Whether from paranoia or good sense, you are rarely caught off guard.
*****Master: Your senses are on par with those of a wild animal.
Possessed by: Hunters, Bodyguards, Security Personnel, Journalists, Burglars
Specialties: Noises, Eavesdropping, Ambushes, Hidden Weapons, Crowds, Forests, Animals
This Talent represents your basic athletic ability, as well as any training you might have had in sports or other rigorous activities. Athletics concerns all forms of running, jumping, throwing, swimming, sports and the like; however, it doesn't cover basic motor actions such as lifting weights, nor does it govern athletic feats covered by another Ability (such as Melee).
*Novice: You had an active childhood.
**Practiced: High-school athlete
***Competent: Professional athlete
****Expert: Top-notch in your sport
*****Master: Olympic medalist
Possessed by: Athletes, Enthusiasts, Park Rangers, Jocks, Kids
Specialties: Swimming, Rock Climbing, Acrobatics, Dancing, Endurance Running, specific sports\
Unlike Alertness, which measures a character's sensitivity to mundane events, Awareness is a gut reaction to the presence of magic. Usually, only mages (and a few other creatures like spirits and ghosts) possess this particular Talent. Once attuned to the supernatural, such students of the arcane just get hunches, chills, or sudden flashes of inspiration. Magic calls to magic, and the character recognizes instinctively when something's just not right in the area. Of course, knowing that something's wrong doesn't mean that the character knows what it is; that's the province of proper knowledge. A mage can use Awareness deliberately if he suspects that something is mystical, in order to determine a general impression of the item or creature. However, the Storyteller rolls Awareness sometimes to determine whether a mage notices a strange event or magical Effect that's not immediately visible.
• Novice: You sometimes get strange feelings or vibes from certain places or people.
• • Practiced: You've felt the supernatural all around you, and you're sure that there are "things out there."
• • • Competent: When you concentrate, you can feel the ebb and flow of magic in things, and you sometimes even pick out specific types of
• • • • Expert: The very world around you hums with the power of the supernatural, and you are keyed to its harmonies.
• • • • • Master: From the tiniest spell to the grandest spirit, you've seen and sensed them all. You can feel the tug of magic from across a city or pick out the subtle flavors of an enchanted object with but a touch.
Possessed by: Psychics, Gypsies, Mystics, New Agers, Paranormal Researchers
Specialties: Talismans, Spirits, Effects, Mystical Places, Resonance
The Brawl Talent represents how well you fight in tooth-and-nail situations. This Talent represents skill in unarmed combat, whether from formal martial-arts training or simply from plenty of experience - either type can make you a dangerous adversary. Effective brawlers are coordinated, resistant to pain, quick, strong and mean; the willingness to do whatever it takes to hurt your opponent wins plenty of fights.
* Novice: You were picked on as a kid.
** Practiced: You've seen the occasional barroom tussle.
*** Competent: You've fought regularly and routinely, and generally walked away in better shape than your opponents.
**** Expert: You could be a serious contender on a boxing circuit.
***** Master: You can kill three men in four seconds.
Possessed by: Military, Police, Roughnecks, Thugs
Specialties: Boxing, Wrestling, Dirty Fighting, Kicks, Karate, Judo, Muay Thai, Throws, Submission Holds
The first rule of self-preservation, this Talent covers your ability to avoid blows, missile fire or even oncoming cars. Dodge entails taking cover, ducking punches or any other methods of getting out of harm's way.
* Novice: You can reflexively duck and cover your head.
** Practiced: You've weathered a self-defense class.
*** Competent: You can evade thrown rocks, maybe even knives.
**** Expert: It'd take a skilled brawler to land a punch.
***** Master: You can virtually sidestep bullets on open ground.
Possessed by: Police, Criminals, Brawlers, Boxers, People in Bad Neighborhoods
Specialties: Cover, Sidestep, Footwork, Leap
You understand the emotions of others, and can sympathize with, feign sympathy for, or play on such emotions as you see fit. You are an easy hand at discerning motive, and might be able to pick up on when someone's lying to you. However, you may be so in tune with other people's feelings that your own emotions are affected.
* Novice: You lend the occasional shoulder to cry on.
** Practiced: You can sometimes literally feel someone else's suffering.
*** Competent: You have a keen insight into other people's motivations.
**** Expert: It's almost impossible to lie to you.
***** Master: The human soul conceals no mysteries from you.
Possessed by: Social Workers, Parents, Actors, Psychologists, Detectives, Seducers, Mediums, Best Friends
Specialties: Emotions, Personalities, Motives, Gaining Trust
This is your ability to get your point across clearly, whether through conversation, poetry or even email. Characters with high Expression can phrase their opinions or beliefs in a manner that cannot be ignored (even if their opinions are misinformed or worthless). They might also be talented actors, skilled at conveying moods or feigning emotion with every gesture. Additionally, this Talent represents your ability for poetry, creative writing or other literary art forms.
* Novice: Your talent has matured past crude poetry on notebook paper.
** Practiced: You could lead a college debate team.
*** Competent: You could be a successful writer.
**** Expert: Your work is Pulitzer material.
***** Master: A visionary such as yourself comes along only once in every generation.
Possessed by: Actors, Writers, Poets, Politicians, Journalists, Instructors, Rabble-Rousers
Specialties: Acting, Poetry, Fiction, Impromptu, Conversation
Intimidation takes many forms, from outright threats and physical violence to mere force of personality. You know the right method for each occasion, and can be very... persuasive.
* Novice: Crude teenage bully
** Practiced: Mugger
*** Competent: Drill sergeant
**** Expert: Your air of authority cows casual passersby.
***** Master: You can frighten off vicious animals.
Possessed by: Bullies, Executives, Military Officers, Thugs, Bouncers, Gangsters, Sabbat
Specialties: Veiled Threats, Pulling Rank, Physical Coercion, Blackmail
You are an example to others and can inspire them to do what you want. Leadership has less to do with manipulating people's desires than it does with presenting yourself as the sort of person they want to follow. This Talent is usually paired with Charisma rather than Manipulation.
* Novice: Captain of your Little League team
** Practiced: Student body president
*** Competent: An effective CEO
**** Expert: Presidential material
***** Master: You could be the lord and master of a nation.
Possessed by: Politicians, Princes, Managers, Executives, Military Officers, Police
Specialties: Oratory, Compelling, Friendly, Open, Noble, Military, Commands
The streets can provide a lot of information or money to those who know the language. Streetwise allows you to blend in unobtrusively with the local scene, pick up gossip, understand slang or even dabble in criminal doings.
* Novice: You know who sells drugs.
** Practiced: You're accorded respect on the street.
*** Competent: You could head your own gang.
**** Expert: You have little to fear in even the worst neighborhoods.
***** Master: If you haven't heard it, it hasn't been said.
Possessed by: Criminals, Homeless People, Reporters, Detectives, Vice Squads, Sabbat
Specialties: Fencing, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Weapons, Rumors, Gangs, Pickpocketing, Local Slang
You know how to conceal your own motives and project what you like. Furthermore, you can root out other people's motives, then use those motives against them. This Talent defines your talent for intrigue, secrets and double-dealing;mastery of Subterfuge can make you the ultimate seducer, or a brilliant spy.
* Novice: You tell the occasional little white lie.
** Practiced: Vampire
*** Competent: Criminal lawyer
**** Expert: Deep-cover agent
***** Master: You're the very last person anyone would suspect.
Possessed by: Politicians, Lawyers, Vampires, Teenagers, Con Men, Pick-up Artists
Specialties: Seduction, Impeccable Lies, Feigning Mortality
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